Note: Some users might notice intermittent discrepancies in colors shown on the map of air quality monitors above, and those reported on the Department of Ecology's official page. This is because Ecology believes their method of calculating the air quality category (i.e. “Good”, “Moderate”, Unhealthy” etc) is more protective of public health in Washington. If in doubt as to which better represents public health risk, use the more stringent of the two (i.e. the map showing worse air quality).
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
And now its Oregon's turn to send a smoke monster our way
Most of the smoke models did not and still don't expect Oregon smoke to hit central and eastern Washington. Here's the satellite picture from Tuesday afternoon showing how that crafty monster outwitted them.
Air in eastern WA has degraded slowly over the work week, as recorded by the monitors.
Air quality was mostly Moderate- Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in much of eastern WA yesterday. Not all the smoke is caused by Oregon fires. Several fires in central, northern and northeast WA are adding to the mix. Fires in Thurston and western Kittitas counties caused Moderate air in Olympia and eastern King County, respectively last evening.
Air quality has returned to mostly Good in western WA is expected to remain that way through Friday at least. There will be some relief across eastern WA starting late tonight and lasting until Friday morning as a front moves through, giving rise to- yes, you guessed it- stronger southwest winds (= more Oregon smoke but also better dispersion) and greater fire danger.
Winds die down by Saturday as high pressure builds over the state to give us nice weekend weather. And poor smoke dispersion. So for most of eastern WA, the forecast will be for Moderate air on Wednesday, Good air on Thursday and back to Moderate air by Friday. Areas closer to fires will likely experience conditions that are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups at times.
High pressure will likely be the "No Entry" sign for Oregon smoke over the weekend, thwarting the monster's spawning powers a bit. But there is a chance that some smoke from eastern WA wildfires could get caught up in east winds and make it over to western WA. Stay tuned, we're monitoring this situation.